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Samurai Armor


Samurai Armor

Through April 28, 2018

Returning to the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art in Las Vegas is always a pleasure. Past exhibitions about Monet, comedian Steve Martin’s serious art collection, and a selection from the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego have been cause for visits to this small but pristine gallery. Now, the Bellagio art space highlights Samurai: Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection. More than 50 items of samurai armor are displayed in this strong show, including full suits of armor, helmets, masks, horse armor, and weapons. The finely crafted pieces capture 600 years of history, from the 14th through the 19th centuries, during which time both samurai appearance and equipment evolved. To be a samurai was a high honor in pre-modern Japan. The samurai belonged to an elite class, for they not only fought in battle but also practiced calligraphy and wrote poetry. In complex roles, samurai were warriors in Japan, yet noble men of refinement and intellect. As part of the story, this exhibit traces the development of swords and guns from early bows and arrows, as armor became more sophisticated. All of the objects in the beautifully curated show are placed within historical context. Clearly, the protective and destructive items are artfully detailed. Viewers will be amazed, maybe mystified, at the artistic beauty of war objects. Not to be missed are lacquered metal helmets embellished with crests and finely wrought protective armor. All around, craftsmanship is of the highest order. At this unusual exhibit, visitors to Samurai: Armor will experience a compelling culture of the past. 702.693.7871, bellagio.com/bgfa


Nuinobedō tōsei gusoku armor and military equipment; Late Momoyama period, c. 1600 (chest armor, helmet bowl, shoulder guards); remounted mid-Edo period, mid-18th century; Armor with the features of a tengu, Late Edo period, 1854 — Both by The Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum, Dallas; Photography: Brad Flowers



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